Intro Slide
Liana Fuente
When was Arturo Fuente Founded, and why Ybor?

Q: When was Arturo Fuente Founded, and why Ybor?

Liana: I am a 4th generation member of the Fuente cigar family. My great-grandfather, Arturo Fuente, founded our family cigar business, A. Fuente & Company, in Ybor City in 1912. A Cuban immigrant, Arturo initially worked at the famous E.H. Gato Cigar Factory in Key West before venturing north to the cigar town created by Vicente Martinez-Ybor in Tampa. Ybor City, which became known as the Cigar Capital of the World because it produced over 500 million cigars a year (more than all the cigar producing countries combined), was a vibrant town full of hard working people with plenty of culture and passion. It was, and still is, the perfect place for Arturo Fuente and his family to pursue the American Dream!

Arturo Fuente Front
Q: How has your family history played a role in the development of Ybor City?
Q: How has your family history played a role in the development of Ybor City?

Liana: In the early years, my great-grandfather, Arturo Fuente, and grandfather, Carlos Fuente, Sr., produced and sold our family cigars from various locations throughout Ybor City and West Tampa, including at one point from the back porch of the family home. In 1965, Carlos purchased the Charles the Great cigar factory located on 22nd Avenue between E. 2nd and E. 3rd Avenue. In 2010, our family began a multi-million dollar 4-year restoration project which brought the building back to its original beauty when it was first constructed in 1902. Currently, the building houses the Corporate Headquarters for The Fuente Companies. In addition, our family built a multi-million dollar cigar warehouse and distribution center across the street from our Corporate Headquarters in 2017, wherein we import and then distribute our cigars throughout the country and the world. I’m proud to be here, and I couldn’t find a better place to be.

Carlitos
Q: What makes Ybor, Ybor?
Q: What makes Ybor, Ybor — why is it unique?

Liana: Ybor city was and will always be the Cigar Capital of the world. Just walking down 7th Ave, you can feel the sense of history, culture, and romance that once fueled this lively city. This city was built and home of immigrants from Cuba, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Each community had their own social clubs that provided medical, social services, and family entertainment. These historical iconic buildings still stand today and bring so much character to this amazing city. Today, Ybor City is known for boutiques, vintage shops and night life on 7th Avenue, not to mention the home of one of my favorite family owned restaurants, The Columbia. I invite you to walk down 7th and smell the aroma of fresh Cuban coffee while taking in all the things that make this city so unique.

Liana Office
What's your fondest memory of Ybor?
Q: What's your fondest memory of Ybor?

Liana: Well, you can say I am a true Tampanian. Born and raised in Tampa, Ybor holds a special place in my heart, not to mention part of so many memories for me. In college it was where everyone went to enjoy the night clubs and bar scene. Today, my husband and I enjoy a much more relaxed experience like lunch or dinner listening to live Cuban music on a Saturday night. Even though I work in Ybor I catch myself going back to enjoy the Sunday markets and cultural events the city offers. Ybor is just such a magical place for me.

Piano
What's your fondest memory of Ybor?
Q: Tell us a little about yourself. What gets you excited? What are you passionate about?

Liana: Well, a little about myself. I am the Vice President of Brand Development for the Fuente Companies. I oversee all of the marketing initiatives for Arturo Fuente’s various business and charitable endeavors, including advertising, public relations, media relations, promotions and special events.

I travel extensively around the world representing and showcasing both Arturo Fuente and the Fuente family at numerous events, trade shows, conventions, and galas.

I try to be a positive and spiritual person. I am super passionate about living life to the fullest. Enjoying moments with my loving family, great friends and wonderful dogs. I am very active in my local community as I sat on the Board of Tampa Connection from 2013-2019, and currently sit on the Board of Cigar Family Charitable Foundation and The Humane Society of Tampa Bay. I am also a representative for the Fuente Family Foundation and volunteer on my time off. I am super passionate about fighting for Breast Cancer awareness. This year alone I was able to raise and donate 87k to the cause. At the end of the day, you can say I am passionate about leaving this world better than how I found it.

Family
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Icons of Ybor: Liana Fuente (Arturo Fuente Cigars)

READ BELOW

Q: When was Arturo Fuente Founded, and why Ybor?

Liana: I am a 4th generation member of the Fuente cigar family. My great-grandfather, Arturo Fuente, founded our family cigar business, A. Fuente & Company, in Ybor City in 1912. A Cuban immigrant, Arturo initially worked at the famous E.H. Gato Cigar Factory in Key West before venturing north to the cigar town created by Vicente Martinez-Ybor in Tampa. Ybor City, which became known as the Cigar Capital of the World because it produced over 500 million cigars a year (more than all the cigar producing countries combined), was a vibrant town full of hard working people with plenty of culture and passion. It was, and still is, the perfect place for Arturo Fuente and his family to pursue the American Dream!

Q: How has your family history played a role in the development of Ybor City?

Liana: In the early years, my great-grandfather, Arturo Fuente, and grandfather, Carlos Fuente, Sr., produced and sold our family cigars from various locations throughout Ybor City and West Tampa, including at one point from the back porch of the family home. In 1965, Carlos purchased the Charles the Great cigar factory located on 22nd Avenue between E. 2nd and E. 3rd Avenue. In 2010, our family began a multi-million dollar 4-year restoration project which brought the building back to its original beauty when it was first constructed in 1902. Currently, the building houses the Corporate Headquarters for The Fuente Companies. In addition, our family built a multi-million dollar cigar warehouse and distribution center across the street from our Corporate Headquarters in 2017, wherein we import and then distribute our cigars throughout the country and the world.

Q: What makes Ybor, Ybor — why is it unique?

Liana: Ybor city was and will always be the Cigar Capital of the world. Just walking down 7th Ave, you can feel the sense of history, culture, and romance that once fueled this lively city. This city was built and home of immigrants from Cuba, Spain, Italy, and Germany.  Each community had their own social clubs that provided medical, social services, and family entertainment. These historical iconic buildings still stand today and bring so much character to this amazing city.  Today, Ybor City is known for boutiques, vintage shops and night life on 7th Avenue, not to mention the home of one of my favorite family owned restaurants, The Columbia.  I invite you to walk down 7th and smell the aroma of fresh Cuban coffee while taking in all the things that make this city so unique.

Q: What’s your fondest memory or memories of Ybor?

Liana: Well, you can say I am a true Tampanian.  Born and raised in Tampa, Ybor holds a special place in my heart, not to mention part of so many memories for me. In college it was where everyone went to enjoy the night clubs and bar scene. Today, my husband and I enjoy a much more relaxed experience like lunch or dinner listening to live Cuban music on a Saturday night. Even though I work in Ybor I catch myself going back to enjoy the Sunday markets and cultural events the city offers. Ybor is just such a magical place for me.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself. What gets you excited? What are you passionate about?

Liana: Well, a little about myself. I am the Vice President of Brand Development for the Fuente Companies. I oversee all of the marketing initiatives for Arturo Fuente’s various business and charitable endeavors, including advertising, public relations, media relations, promotions and special events.

I travel extensively around the world representing and showcasing both Arturo Fuente and the Fuente family at numerous events, trade shows, conventions, and galas.

I try to be a positive and spiritual person. I am super passionate about living life to the fullest. Enjoying moments with my loving family, great friends and wonderful dogs. I am very active in my local community as I sat on the Board of Tampa Connection from 2013-2019, and currently sit on the Board of Cigar Family Charitable Foundation and The Humane Society of Tampa Bay. I am also a representative for the Fuente Family Foundation and volunteer on my time off. I am super passionate about fighting for Breast Cancer awareness. This year alone I was able to raise and donate 87k to the cause. At the end of the day, you can say I am passionate about leaving this world better than how I found it.

NEXT UP:

USF Innovators: Dr. Lori Collins (DHHC USF)

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